BACK TO SCHOOL
I can’t believe that this weekend marks the end of summer. School starts on Tuesday which officially ends the summer holidays. The times of relaxation, rest and travel are now behind us. It brings some sadness but also some excitement and anticipation!!
I remember the excitement, the unknown and newness of a school year on this weekend when I went to school. There was something about seeing your friends, finding out who your teacher was going to be and what amazing things you were going to learn during the year. I definitely looked forward to all the amazing events, the cooler and colourful fall weather and all that came with starting fresh and over again with the first day of school!! So let’s keep all of our students, staffs, administrations and parents in our prayers as the new school year begins!! May they be excited about what God has in store for them!!!
THE PARISH SUMMER REVIEW
The summer was definitely not a resting period here at the parish. Although many of our programs and ministries slowed down, the staff has been going full steam ahead planning for this upcoming season filled with amazing programs, ministries and new ventures to become more faithful disciples of Jesus always seeking to serve those in need.
1) SUMMER CAMP
I want to thank Sophia Mutuc and Ellora Woznuk and their amazing volunteers for hosting another successful Summer Kids Camp. We had nearly 100 kids and youth leaders take part in a week of faith and fun. There were kids all over the parish property!!! They took over the whole building and it was simply amazing to see the smiles, laughter and joy of everyone involved. A special “thank you” to so many parishioners who donated items to make our camp truly another wonderful success!!
God is so good to us!! We have always had perfect weather each year for MEGAFEST which takes place at East Park in August. This year we had around 450 people attend this annual event, which is the biggest single event on the parish calendar. People enjoyed the sun, fun & games, all the East Park activities in addition to the great food hosted by our Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League. It could not have been better!! We have already booked our date for 2020!
3) OUTDOOR FAITH
Over the summer the parish staff and some wonderful volunteers have taken extra time to tend to the gardens, flower beds and Prayer Path area on the parish property. Trees have been trimmed, weeds have been pulled and some new places of hope and faith are slowly growing. It has been a lot of work but it has made the parish much more welcoming and inviting to encounter God.
On August 15th, we blessed the new Rosary Garden located at the front of the property, right at the flag pole. We took out the rocks and replaced it with mulch and stones formed into a rosary. We have added a statue of Mary and two angels will soon join her along with a bench where you can sit and pray the rosary outside.
The Prayer Path along the front of the property is slowly coming into shape. We have added two of three new benches so far and will be adding four saint statues (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Jude and St. Francis) along the path who will help us grow as faithful and loving disciples. We will be adding more lighting in addition to stone markers at each entrance of the Prayer Path.
4) PREACHING SUMMIT
Fr. Pedro, Deacon Dennis, Deacon Mark and myself spent two and a half days on retreat at a cottage in Grand Bend praying together and looking at how we can improve our preaching so that we can more effectively share the Gospel message.
Prior to our gathering, we all read the book REBUILDING YOUR MESSAGE by Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran, who both work at the Church of the Nativity in Baltimore, Maryland. We discussed the book and our preaching styles during our retreat and looked at different ways we can make sure that our faith is relevant to our lives today.
We also spent a lot of time preparing something very new for St. George Parish. We have decided to preach in a message series format rather than weekly reflections. A Message Series looks at the readings over a 4 to 6 week period and tries to form a theme that can be carried over that time which relates to the lives of the faithful. I have to say, we are all very excited about it and hopefully it inspires all of us to love and serve the Lord more and more!!!
We will also be forming a MESSAGE TEAM comprised of staff and parishioners who will help evaluate and guide future series and help us continue to grow our skills as preachers. This year we are taking extra time to gather and share ideas, critique our preaching and hone our message to be relevant, meaningful and inspiring. Please pray for us!!!
5) PARISH MINISTRY PLANNING
The staff has been working very hard this summer planning all the programs, events and ministries that make St. George Parish a great place of discipleship and service!!!
There are so many different opportunities to pray, seek formation, participate in social activities, outreach and service. This includes the different novenas, Rosary Week, holy hours, faith movie nights, family movie nights, St. Drogo Café, parish breakfasts, Roman Roadhouse, Mosaic groups, St. Vincent de Paul, Christmas Hampers, Faith In Action Teams, Grieving with Great Hope workshops, all the liturgical ministries and so much more!!!
Each of our ministries and programs seek to do two things — form disciples and inspire us to reach out to all. We seek to be formed, trained, equipped and confident messengers of love who always put our faith into action!!
The new year is here!!! Let’s go!!! I know it will be a year filled with grace and hope!!!